First of all, George Mason basketball exceeded expectations this season and overachieved to a 20-win campaign that has brought this program new life. How Dave Paulsen got these guys to buy into his system of hard work, especially on the glass and on defense, is nothing short of amazing. What a turnaround and yeah it sure would have been nice to finally knock VCU out a conference tournament but the program just isn’t there yet. But boy did this group fight, all season long. Seniors Marquise Moore and Jalen Jenkins tried to keep Mason in this one late but fell short. Moore set an A-10 tournament record averaging 18 rebounds a game but his 11 points just weren’t enough. As a team they didn’t let turnovers or VCU’s big front line beat them but they failed to shoot the ball well when they needed it, especially on three-pointers.
Scoring droughts were definitely a problem this season and a lot of that was due to inconsistent long range shooting. They made a living this season getting to the free-throw line and it’s what kept them in the game against VCU and even the lead through certain times. But they weren’t able to build on it last night and eventually the free-throw attempts evened out between the two teams. With six guys playing a lot of minutes in both games in this tournament for them you have to wonder if they simply ran out of gas. It was definitely a hard fought battle for them and depth was another issue all season.
Mason has proved though that they can certainly win and be efficient on offense with a short rotation. Howvever it simply won’t work with Otis and Grayer combining for only 20 points and hitting only two threes between the both of them. They were the guys that Mason just needed more scoring from last night. VCU gave Moore a lot of attention and Mason couldn’t find a way to take advantage even though they were showing good ball movement.
Mason’s chances at the NIT are very slim, they most likely needed a win over VCU to be in the conversation. So will they either do the CBI or CIT tournament? We’ll have to see. It would make sense considering they return a lot of young guys next season.